Day 137. Assorted Nuts

Late thirties, early forties. About six foot. Dark, curly hair. Nice looking. He was just standing there, with his hands in his pockets. Staring at all the boxes of cereal. Like he was in a museum, shoppingcartadmiring the art.

I glanced at his cart. Empty. Strange, I thought. Cereal’s in the middle of the store. Nobody comes just for cereal. You’d think he’d at least have a head of lettuce in there. Or a bag of those little carrots. Or an apple or two. Produce is right where you come in. Who doesn’t pick up something fresh?

Sure, I was intrigued. Wouldn’t you be? I had to stick around and watch him for a bit. There we were. Me, looking at him. Him looking at cereal boxes. I became so engrossed I forgot I wanted a box of oatmeal.

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Day 116. Be Brutal

Pete Armetta has a WordPress blog I very much enjoy.  He’s a powerful writer of poetry, flash fiction, essays and short stories; and I’m always struck by how few words he needs, to say so much.  Which, incidentally, is much easier said that done.  His ‘style’ brings to mind a favourite Mark Twain quote:

“I am sorry to have written such a long letter, but I did not have time to write a short one”.

Says it all.   Because the true measure of a writer is the ability to self-edit.  To be ruthless.  To choose words carefully.  To make every one work hard.  And having talent is the least of it.  It takes discipline.  Love of the craft.  The ability to let go.  To love ’em, but leave ’em, on the cutting room floor.  To know when you’re done.

So really, a writer’s best friend isn’t a computer.  Or a dictionary.  Or a thesaurus.  It’s the eraser.

Luckily, I learned that very early in my career. It was hard.  And painful.  But the best thing that could ever have happened to a young writer, just starting out.  Which is why I wrote a blog post about it.

When I commented on Pete’s poem, and how much I admire his ability to keep only what’s absolutely essential, he responded, Continue reading